Major League Soccer

Pablo Mastroeni praises Real Salt Lake after Seattle Sounders win

Chris Smith
RSL's win over Seattle leaves them fifth in the Western Conference.
RSL's win over Seattle leaves them fifth in the Western Conference. / Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
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Real Salt Lake interim manager Pablo Mastroeni has praised his side's "complete performance" during their impressive 1-0 over the Seattle Sounders.

Given the Sounders arrived in Utah on a run of seven wins from eight games across all competitions, few would have expected the hosts to come away with victory.

However, a 48th-minute Damir Kreilach header was enough to seal all three points for RSL back at Rio Tinto Stadium. Salt Lake restricted Seattle to just two shots on target throughout the night and had a couple of chances to extend their lead.

Mastroeni was understandably delighted with his side's performance, praising their "desire and drive" in the face of a packed schedule.

“It was amazing," Mastroeni told reporters of RSL's performance (via the club's official website). "We had two tough games on the road, but to come home and put forth the effort that we did against a team like Seattle was great.

"There were a lot of gutsy performances tonight. In the back, we kept a clean sheet for the first time with those three guys in the back. The desire and drive from Albert [Rusnak] as well as Damir [Kreilach] was astounding when they haven’t had a break in three games.

"We had Everton [Luiz] and Pablo [Ruiz] in there, breaking everything up. The wing-backs also broke forward and gave us some dangerous crosses, it was just a complete performance from all of the guys and I couldn’t be happier for the group after a very tough week."

Kreilach's winner came courtesy of an excellent cross to the back post from RSL right-wing-back Aaron Herrera.

The United States international has now provided an assist in each of his last three MLS appearances, while his overall tally of eight leaves him behind only Carles Gil (12) and Djordje Mihailovic (10) in the entire league.

Herrera feels he still has plenty of room for improvement and has tasked himself with refining his final ball.

“I always hold myself accountable before anybody else," the 24-year-old said. "Even tonight, it's good that I had an assist but I feel I could have had two or maybe three assists and even a goal. I think I could be a lot cleaner in the final third.

"There are a lot of times where it’s just that last touch or that last pass that could end up creating a goal. If I can just be a little cleaner, I could start upping the stats a little more and produce more for the team.”

RSL currently sit fifth in the Western Conference, three points clear of LAFC below the playoff line. Next up is a trip to the Portland Timbers, who are just one place and two points below Salt Lake in the table.

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